The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has called on real estate agents to join hands with the Commission in the fight against corruption and avoid being used as a conduit for money laundering.
This was stated by the Ilorin Zonal Commander of the Commission, Mr Michael Nzekwe, on Tuesday, 19th September, 2023, while receiving members of the Kwara Chapter of the Estate Rent and Commission Agent Association of Nigeria, ERCAAN, at his office in Ilorin.
Nzekwe stated strongly that his Command was determined to fight financial crime through enforcement of all regulations with a view to curtailing sharp practices and money laundering, especially in the real estate sector.
“Real estate is an avenue through which corrupt Nigerians launder proceeds of crime. I was delighted when I got your letter that you would be coming on a courtesy visit because I know the visit will offer us the opportunity to discuss how we can deal with this issue,” said the EFCC commissioner.
He maintained that real estate agencies are key stakeholders in the fight against corruption and admonished members to live above board while paying serious attention to the provisions of the new Money Laundering Act, 2022 (as amended), the Advance Fee Fraud Act and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
The Commander continued by urging the visitors to familiarise themselves with the laws and regulations guiding the real estate sector, particularly Section 3 of the AFF Act, 2006.
He read the section as follows: “A person who, being the occupier or is concerned in the management of any premises, causes or knowingly permits the premises to be used for any purpose which constitutes an offence under this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not more than 15 years and not less than 5 years without the option of a fine.”
In addition, he stressed the importance of “KYC” (Know Your Customer) a precondition in dealing with customers so as to be free of liabilities in case of any eventuality.
He also called on members of the association to ensure compliance with the regulation requiring registration and certification of their businesses by the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML and urged them to report suspicious transactions to the appropriate agency as required by the law.
Earlier, the Association’s Chairman in Kwara State, Mr. Onibokun commended the giant strides of the Ilorin Zonal Command in fighting corruption and expressed the willingness of his members to assist the Commission in fighting money laundering and other financial crimes in the real estate sector.